With support from Nova Scotia Environment, the Centre’s calculator is a user-friendly tool to help businesses estimate their environmental impacts through measuring emissions associated with a variety of operations, including energy use, electricity consumption, and freight.
As the term “carbon footprint” has become particularly in vogue in the past several years, customers, governments, and businesses around the world are devoting unprecedented attention to this topic. The carbon footprints of businesses, known more formally as their “corporate greenhouse gas inventories,” are a measure of the emissions generated through their day-to-day operations.
A carbon footprint can include everything from burning natural gas onsite, to business travel, to the electricity consumption, which is a particular concern in Nova Scotia where non-renewable fossil fuels generate the vast majority of electricity in the province.
The Eco-Efficiency Centre’s unique tool seeks to provide businesses with a helpful tool to determine their biggest sources of emissions, as these areas will offer the biggest and potentially most lucrative opportunities to improve operational efficiency. For example, for a business that finds that its greatest source of emissions is electricity generation, switching to more efficient lighting and encouraging employees to turn off unused office equipment can significantly reduce energy consumption, greenhouse gases, and energy costs. As the sources of emissions will vary between businesses, the Eco-Efficiency Centre will incorporate carbon footprinting support into all of its programs for SMEs in Nova Scotia. Through these tools and services, the Centre will develop industry and regional averages of the SME greenhouse gas emissions throughout Canada. Currently, there are many gaps in this knowledge, and the Centre hopes to that this data will ensure that climate change legislation, such as cap-and-trade schemes, are developed with SME data in mind. In addition, these databases will also help review greenhouse gas-reduction progress, such as those targets set out in Nova Scotia’s Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act to reduce emissions in the province 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.
In support of the Sustainable Prosperity objectives to align economic and environmental performance, businesses throughout Atlantic Canada will soon be able to tap into expanded services from the Eco-Efficiency Centre, green technology innovations from the Faculty of Engineering, and the University’s corporate social responsibility expertise to develop customized sustainability strategies.
*About the Eco-Efficiency Centre*
Dalhousie University’s Eco-Efficiency Centre is a non-profit environmental management centre supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises in Nova Scotia. Since 1998, the Centre has worked with several hundred businesses throughout Atlantic Canada, identifying opportunities to enhance productivity and optimize both environmental performance and operational efficiency. Through personalized and cost-effective research and services, the Centre is an award-winning resource for businesses responding to the increasing focus on enterprise sustainability. Now that carbon footprints have become an indicator of corporate competitiveness, the Centre also provides businesses with tools and guidance on measuring and managing their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
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